Monday, November 1, 2010

Waddling for Two: Babywearing for Penguinos

Lets just say that being able to hold Jax and still use both my hands is a wonderful thing. I thought it was a genius idea from the papoose to the shawl. Handsfree baby carrying is possibly one of the greatest inventions of all time. Once we found a carrier that worked for us, we were totally hooked! The awesome thing about babywearing, (besides the closeness, less fussiness, no tired arms, and ability to actually type/fold laundry/use the facilities) is that it makes going out SOOOO much easier.

We tend to be out and about A LOT and I'm always amazed at the hassle through which people go with a stroller. Admittedly I don't own a stroller. I meant to get one, I even registered. We just haven't really needed or wanted one since Jax got here. I just seem to see frazzled Moms dealing with a screaming baby sitting in a car seat while she unfolds the stroller, unstraps the baby and restraps them in, or just clicks the whole car seat onto the stroller. Then there's the pushing it around wherever it is. Strollers need elevators at the mall and don't fair well on Rennasiance Festival terrain. I see the logic of a wagon for a day at the park, but I can't handle all the extra time and stuff involved with a stroller when running errands, particularly when Jax was so little and needed to be held. He still prefers to be close and it's so much quicker to negotiate in and out of a car and through a crowd or store if I'm not taking up the space of a baby walrus. Despite what it may appear, with the right carrier, the weight is on my hips, not back or arms, and I can comfortably carry him all day if need be.

I had this wonderful plan, having read up on the topic and planned to keep him as close to someone as possible for as much time as possible early on. It's good for baby and GREAT for breastfeeding. I even got the fancy shmancy Dr. Sears recommended sling. (I got it at a consignment shop, but still!). Again with all the research and preparation? Yeah, I'm an info-holic. Before you freak out and tell me (as a woman in Target did) "That thing will KILL your baby!" Please read about the difference between the re-called pouch slings and the proper way to use "real" slings. It's another one of those things humans have been doing for thousands of years that actually protects infants by keeping them close and encouraging breastfeeding.

So, back to our story, Jax was born and, while he loved being swaddled and held, he had once again failed to do his home work and had not read up on how much he was supposed to love his sling. He hated the sling AND the Infantino structured carrier I had purchased before he was born. HATED. I was sure I had just been wrong about the whole thing. Maybe babywearing just wasn't that great? Enter the ladies of my local La Leche League group. Besides being really handy when discussing issues of lactation and giggling at toddler hilarity, it turned out they were my Mommy Tribe; my parenting soul mates. There's another whole post about this I'm sure, but long story short, one invited me to a babywearing party. A wha?

Babywearing party. A chance to try on different carriers, have someone wrap you into a piece of cloth and check out how you feel and, all importantly how your BABY likes the various carrier options. AWESOME. Turns out Jax just didn't much care for slings or crotch carrier types like the Bjorn or Infantino where his legs dangle. I hadn't realized there were other options even out there!

What he did like was the Asian style Mei Tai and the soft structured variations. (Despite my assumption that babies should want to forward face, most prefer to straddle around mama's waist). He also really liked the simple wraps, but I was a little intimidated at first. Even if you just curious about babywearing, I seriously recommend attending or hosting one of these. Just getting to check stuff out in person makes a BIG difference.

Sew, I decided to get cracking' and make him a little something… (get it? Sew instead of So?) I checked out several awesome how-to sites like and

After reading up I tweaked and modified to make things how I thought Jax and I would like them best; denim (had a bunch of old jeans on hand), wide stripes, pockets, and a hood. I didn't really measure per se but mostly just eye-balled and tried pieces as I went along. If you're interested I've got the parts in a Facebook album and, eventually, I'll post a tutorial here. He did, indeed, love it, as did I.

However, as we live in GA it became quickly apparent that the denim double thick Mei Tai was not going to cut it in the summer months as Jax was always getting hot (and super fussy when hot). I'd also tried on several other carriers and had decided that it would be worth the investment of money I would have put into a stroller to get a really nice, easy to use carrier. I settled on the Ergo and waited patiently (and by "patiently" I mean stalkerishly) for one of the daily deal sites to feature them. I cannot say enough about how incredibly intuitive and easy to use the Ergo is. We literally us it every day.

Once you're hooked on baby wearing, it is sorta hard to resist trying new things. Like this carrier I made and only wore once... but it was a cool idea!

I've also gotten really good at doing a simple wrap carry. I bought 5 yard of muslin at the fabric store and finished the ends. During the hot Georgia summer around the house I'd often wear just the wrap and Jax since it covers more than a tank top and allowed quick and easy cuddles and nursing without overheating. We still do this when he's not feeling well as being skin to skin helps him feel much better.

If you're in the market, for something economical and want to support an awesome WAHM I suggest because, although I love my Ergo, I realize $70+ is quite the pretty penny for something you're not sure you or your baby will like.

There's a right and wrong way to carry your baby. Just sayin'. I'm gonna assume you, dear reader, will be smart about it.


  1. I want to know where to get that really nice yellow baby purse the lady in the last picture is using. I guess it looks a little dangerous, but fashion is pain, right?

    JUST KIDDING! Love the post, Christine!

  2. Carriers are great for keeping the baby safe and secure when out and about. Having them close to your body translates into a baby feeling safe and being calm even when going through big crowds or louder than usual events. It gives them that secure base to let them explore a little without feeling overwhelmed.

  3. Hi! Stopping by as this post was greatly recommended by my blog-friend Junebug! And totally worth the visit! I'm currently researching my perfect first wrap and your post was very informative! I won't be able to attend a babywearing meeting for another couple of weeks and I'm hitching to have one now!! If you like you can see how I get on in my blog!
    Love, Fran